Our experienced lawyers share their unique perspectives on the latest market news and trends. Moulis Legal and our lawyers are highly ranked by respected peer review agencies Chambers & Partners, Who’s Who Legal and Best Lawyers. Our recognitions include consistent Band 1 recognition by Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific, and as one of Australia’s top 20 law firms (Chambers & Partners, 2015).
The idea of “cartels” is not normally associated with businesses that engage in the provision of lawful goods or services, however the priorities of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (known as the ACCC) suggest otherwise. Since 2010, cartel behaviour has attracted criminal penalties for companies and individuals in Australia.
In social media, it is sometimes hard to work out whether information about a product or service is genuinely the opinion of a third party, or whether it has been encouraged or positioned by an undisclosed advertiser. Last month Australia’s Association of National Advertisers published a new “ethical code” for internet advertising. The Association – the “AANA” – is an industry body that promotes self-regulation by advertisers. The code puts the spotlight on “sponsored posts” requiring them, as a matter of good practice, to declare their sponsorship to consumers.
Mergers and acquisitions play an important role in the economy, allowing companies to take advantage of synergies to achieve business efficiency, build expertise and services, and diversify risk. At the same time, consumers benefit from maintaining and encouraging healthy competition between businesses selling goods and services to ensure that prices remain affordable.
Australian persons – whether corporate or individual – and Australian government agencies will soon have to shoulder new responsibilities for a data breach occurring anywhere in the world. On 13 February the Government passed new laws said to constitute “some of the most stringent disclosure laws in the world”.1
Businesses engaged in cross-border transactions and investments are often exposed to unanticipated liability under the laws and regulations of foreign countries. Businesses that have an incomplete understanding of the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions where they operate can be subject to unnecessary legal, reputational and financial risks that often have damaging consequences. In many circumstances these risks and liabilities extend to company directors and other officers.
In a landmark trade mark ruling from the Beijing High People’s Court, Treasury Wine Estates (“TWE”), the owner of the ‘Penfolds’ wine brand, has successfully challenged the registration of the lucrative ‘Ben Fu’ trade mark which had been registered by a well-known ‘trade mark squatter’ in China. TWE had failed to register the trade mark, prior to the trade mark squatter’s registration, despite having developed a strong reputation over 20 years in the Chinese market.
The Supreme Court of Victoria has held that an Airbnb arrangement is a lease. On that basis the activity of the tenants in letting out their apartment was found to be in breach of a prohibition in their lease against subletting. In another Victorian case, Airbnb hosts had a better result, successfully overturning a body corporate rule seeking to prevent Airbnb arrangements in their building.
Australia has long debated the notion that it could be a significant repository for the warehousing and containment of the world’s nuclear waste. That possibility has re-emerged, with the State Government of South Australia again considering a proposal to build a nuclear waste disposal facility in its remote desert environs.
Achieving success in a formal legal dispute is only half the battle. Despite a resounding legal victory in a court or arbitration, a business may still lose the war if they are not able to enforce their hard won judgment or award against the defeated party. Many successful disputes have actually resulted in substantive monetary losses for the victorious party because they failed to ensure ahead of time that the judgment or award would be valid in a jurisdiction where the other party has assets.
Our clients are often surprised to learn that their registered Australian trade marks do not apply in other countries. However, like other forms of registered intellectual property rights, it’s true – trade marks are only registered on a per country basis.